JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Several members of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce received a firsthand look at the inner workings of a U.S. Army South-hosted multinational command post exercise here Aug. 10.
"It’s one thing to see it on TV but seeing firsthand how seamless a joint effort would be if we ever needed it provided me greater level of comfort today," said Richard Delgado, Jr., a Boeing Global Community Investor.
The guests were greeted by Brig. Gen. Lynn M. Heng, Army South deputy commanding general. Heng explained to the group how Army South's programs and initiatives enhance theater security and stability throughout the Western Hemisphere and the importance of major exercises like PANAMAX 2022.
PANAMAX is aimed at reinforcing and enhancing the long-term security of the Panama Canal and the Western Hemisphere. Personnel from 19 nations, including the United States, participated in the exercise from Aug. 1-11.
"I believe it is very important for community members to see the amount of military training that happens with partners from around the globe bringing their knowledge and assets to the table for quicker response time against our enemies,” said Delgado. “We are truly stronger together."
The group's tour of the exercise site gave them a chance to see the extent of Army South's efforts to partner with Latin American security forces through professional exchanges and by working side-by-side with other nations' armies.
Robert Perez, U.S. Army Reserve Ambassador for the State of Texas, highlighted the impact of communicating the importance of joint exercises to the local community.
"PANAMAX demonstrates how U. S. Southern Command and the multinational military effectively plan and train to protect the Panama Canal and its global importance,” said Perez. “Today's briefings help San Antonio community leaders understand how the U.S. and 19 Nations train and work together. Also, it is important for me to observe the United States Army Reserve's role to support PANAMAX."
In the headquarters tent, the chamber members were greeted by each department head and given a brief on the roles and responsibilities of each section. Chamber members were given some time to work their way through each area, ask any questions they had about the exercise and operations, and visit with U.S. and partner nation participants. Many of the visitors were impressed by the hands-on opportunity.
"It was amazing to see what our servicemembers can accomplish. Setting up the forward operating base, vetting the personnel and bringing them together, actioning the mission; it’s incredible and a true testament to the word ‘team,’” said Stephanie D. Aguilar, Regional Outreach Manager for Navy Federal Credit Union. “As a member of the community and as a military spouse it just resonated with me that we are all in good hands."